Final Project

Show and Sell

Design Document

The core of Discoverer is a Javascript library which ties in to certain DOM classes to create the UI elements of the system.

All elements are minor modifications to common, existing UI elements and can be embedded anywhere. This means they can be integrated with a wide range of tools. They all function independently, allowing a gradual transition from the current newsroom systems.

Most of the work is done by the browser however the creation of tags and articles will naturally involve storing data on a public facing web server. This is achieved through a simple API. Calls are made to a script running on a server which can run by the implementing website or by a third party.

As well as handling new items, the server handles queries, such as “the last ten articles tagged as gossip, posted by any of my friends.” The results of these queries can be served as RSS feeds. Answering these queries may involve following up semantic leads by sending requests to external servers and bringing external articles into the result. Discoverer includes options to hide such results behind a disclaimer or ignore them altogether.

Articles are marked up with standard RDFa metadata. Anything with a URI can be an article, though external content which lacks metadata may need a plugin to scrape out the goodness.

Discoverer includes elements for:

  • Personal Identification (such as through social networking, OpenID or BrowserID.)
  • Adding titles and controls to articles.
  • Tagging and social additions for article creation.

In addition, a full article browser forms the core UI element of Discoverer. This replaces existing forums and comment lists with a dynamic, asynchronous article list which can be sorted by time, author or subject and shifts to track the current active article, allowing seamless exploration of content, even across domains.

The browser uses data from the server and anywhere else it can get it (such as social networks or even the browser itself, which could keep a record all user activity) to build a profile of the user’s preferences. It can use this data to choose articles when many are available, as well as choosing which articles are of little interest and should be truncated. Such articles can still be expanded to full at the user’s discretion.

The final part of the system is a tool for selecting RSS feeds and individual articles and turning them into pages in a blog or newspaper style. This allows advanced filtering of content based on author, subject and time, as well as bespoke selection of individual articles. These pages in turn produce their own RSS feeds. They also automatically tag all content with a semantic relationship which feeds back into the system.

Business Brief

The landscape of the Internet is rapidly changing. Currently, a typical news site has a few people creating small amounts of high quality content, with maybe a handful of comments from readers. Facebook, on the other hand, has millions of people spending huge amounts of time creating vast amounts of mostly disposable content. How can you get those people to spend their time at a news site?

Discoverer is a set of tools specifically designed to bring the Facebook generation back to news by giving them everything they need to write and compile stories themselves. Discoverer lets readers engage with professional journalists by giving them an equal opportunity to participate in the creation of content. This leads to users having a sense of ownership, getting them actively invested in the success of your site.

But it’s not just about writing. Discoverer encourages users to share their work on their social networks, drawing new users into the discussion. It enables crowd curation, letting people find and share connections between content. Any content from any website can be brought into this network. In turn, your content can be exported to any other website, complete with any advertising and links back home.

Using semantic metadata automatically added to every post, users can explore the web of content by time, author or subject, encouraging them to discover the news for themselves and rewarding the best content with greater visibility.

And it all integrates seamlessly with your existing solutions. Each tool is just an incremental advance over standard website features, allowing for a graduated transition to a more connected news service.

With Discoverer, you are no longer dictating to your customers how they should experience news, you’re giving them the power to explore. Your site becomes a hub of activity with professional journalists at the core, driving the agenda and setting the standard for quality content.

“Create, Share, Explore”

Discoverer – lead the way.


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